Advanced Analysis Methods and Nondestructive Inspection Technology Under Development in the NASA Airframe Structural Integrity Program
An advanced analytical methodology has been developed for predicting the residual strength of stiffened thin-sheet riveted shell structures such as those used for the fuselage of a commercial transport aircraft. The crack-tip opening angle elastic-plastic fracture criterion has been coupled to a geometric and material nonlinear finite element shell code for analyzing complex structural behavior. An automated adaptive mesh refinement capability together with global-local analysis methods have been developed to predict the behavior of fuselage structure with long cracks. This methodology is currently being experimentally verified. Advanced nondestructive inspection technology has been developed that will provide airline operators with the capability to conduct reliable and economical broad-area inspections of aircraft structures.